New guide to help 14,500 Scots living with celiac disease

A new guide to help the estimate of 14,500 Scots living with celiac disease has been launched by NHS 24.

People diagnosed with celiac disease must maintain a strictly gluten-free diet for the rest of their life if they want to avoid serious complications such as osteoporosis, infertility, neurological conditions such as gluten ataxia and neuropathy and, although rare, an increased risk of small Intestinal lymphoma and intestinal lymphoma.

It is estimated that there are about 36,000 people living in Scotland undiagnosed, as the symptoms can be confused with other common conditions, including irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stress. NHS 24 hopes that their guide "Living well with celiac disease" will benefit those who will be diagnosed in the future.

Celiac disease causes the reactivity of the immune system in a person's gut when eating gluten, resulting in chronic inflammation and can cause abdominal bloating, diarrhea, fatigue and headache, among other symptoms.

Gluten is a protein found in foods that contain wheat, barley or rye.

The obvious sources of gluten include bread, pasta, flour, cereals, cakes and biscuits.

Dr. Laura Ryan, NHS 24 Health Director, said: "Symptoms of celiac disease can vary from person to person and can range from mild to severe.

"Living with the disease can be difficult but with the right support and information, it is completely manageable.

"There are some things you can do that will help you better deal with your condition and your diet."

Created in collaboration with the charity Celiac UK, NHS Scotland, the Scottish government and people who have experience of celiac disease, the guide also unveils some of the common myths about the condition, such as "a crumb will not hurt anyone with celiac disease "".

Even small amounts of gluten can be harmful to people with celiac disease.

Therefore, taking steps to avoid cross-contamination with gluten is important to prevent damage to the body.

Myles Fitt, Scotland's leader at Celiac UK, said: "Starting a gluten-free diet can be a challenge and this new information guide will be a great help for new diagnoses of celiac disease.

"There are many things to think about which foods are gluten-free, where to buy and how to eat safely, with this guide, along with the support that Celiac UK can provide, people with celiac disease can live well, without gluten."

To access the guide, look for "live well with celiac disease" on nhsinform.scot

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